For the past four years, Jessica Page and Haley Anderson have been helping New York’s Mom + Pop become one of the most respected indie music labels. Now they’re on the wheel as the label’s first female co-general manager, running the Page Digital team and moving on to Anderson’s marketing. In Mom + Pop, the pair have helped build the careers of such artists Courtney Burnett, Flum, Ashe, And Tash Sultana. Thanks to their combined experience in every field of artist development, touring, streaming, press, retail and beyond, they have gained a deeper understanding of the music industry. We reached out to Page and Anderson to discuss how they worked their way up to managing a successful record label and what each artist needs to know.
Spotify for Artists: Describe what you do and give an overview of how you got there.
Jessica Page: I am leading our digital team, which is a combination of digital and streaming strategy and web design. I started music tech about eight years ago. I worked for a music platform called exfm. From there, I worked at Complex Media for live music coverage and ticket sales, and then for a site called SuperGlue. Then I ended up in Capitol [Records]/ Caroline has been working on the distribution side before moving to Mom + Pop about four years ago to start our digital department.
Holly Anderson: For us, marketing and product management work much the same way. I work with managers to create an overall timeline and plan to ensure that projects in the press, radio, digital and retail are moving forward. I jump into marketing, street logistics, band products and everything in between. I also run points in our physical retail. And then of course we are always working with brands and partners to increase the footprint of a band. Previously I worked at a management company called Foundations Artist Management and I run all of their tour marketing work. Before that I worked for AEG Live in their Northwest office, so that’s my background [was] On a trip before Mom + Pop, where I’ve been for about five years now.
Are there any specific artists who have inspired you to do this as a career?
Page: I think there were a few more things that got me here. It never really occurred to me that I could work in music, but I’m so happy that I’m here. I’m not the person who did the internship or moved to New York and said, “I’m going to work in the music industry.” It’s the only community I’ve ever been to. I grew up surrounded by art. My mother was an artist, and I grew up David Bowie And Prince Fans – These seemed bigger than life to me. But I was more interested in music as a fan / artist. It didn’t make me want to work on the record label. I don’t think I knew the world really existed.
Anderson: I certainly grew up in a music family Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Rolling stones, And then the indie rock scene that came out of Seattle when I was in high school and college. For me, it was about getting involved in a live show. I booked the show for my university and then a friend and I would book the show in our local community. It’s the power you feel in a live show, and a fan was talking about that connection with an artist that way. But once I started considering a career as a talent buyer, I realized it wasn’t quite right for me. I like to work with a handful of artists vs. a new show every night. I love how you can work on an artist’s career for so many years and really become an integral part of their team.
Photo by Courtney Barnett Mia Mala MacDonald
What are you looking for in the artist you want to work with?
Page: It’s amazing to have an artist who has a clear idea of who they are and where they want to go. The best projects are when you can sit down with someone and talk about what they are really trying to achieve and what their ambitions and creative ideas are – when you can learn about them and play on their strengths. We will always come up with ideas, but in fact we have come to give them a platform so that their message and art can be heard.
Anderson: And who are they to tell his story, just from the musical point of view. Even if an artist doesn’t know what they want, it’s important for them to be open to collaborating and working with a group of people around them. I think that’s when the most successful projects happen.
Page: Courtney Burnett A great example. I would describe each one as almost going back to family when we work together. He is an incredible writer and artist, and he comes up with a message and a goal every time.
Anderson: Tash Sultana Also. We have now been able to work with him on multiple tours, and an album and an EP since his first tour in the United States. We worked very closely with his team to build a global story for him.
Page: And that includes combining its content and social strategies – finding ways to add an already incredibly large and organic fanbase. It’s about finding things with your artist that really talk about who they are and what their community is all about. It’s different with each single artist and we’re lucky to have a really varied roster that lets us use our brains to determine what is the best strategy for everyone.
Tash Sultana Photo Dara Munnis
What is the biggest tool for an artist in 2019 from your perspective?
Anderson: Honestly, I think it’s just releasing music and a whole series of content is coming out because now a lot of people are discovering new music and new artists through curated playlists.
Page: Strategically, I would say being able to have a team around you that can help you engage your core fans. Get that part of thousands of fans that is going to spread a message for you and your new music.
Anderson: We are no longer thinking about conventional propaganda. You can’t really get away from your platform; You can’t stop adding your followers. Instead of looking like “I’m on-the-bike” it’s about finding ways to record more consistent messaging and engaging the audience.
Page: The learning curve can be really difficult. If you told me that Courtney Burnett was going to use Instagram Stories three years ago, I would get a smile on your face. But people become more comfortable with things, and it’s our job to figure out what our artists are comfortable with, especially when it comes to social media.
What is your best start-up advice for an artist?
Page: Embrace the community around you. It’s so important to come into a community where you can support each other and create art together. And I think being aware of how digital space works and trying to educate yourself about it will help you a million times over. This will help you when choosing a manager; This will help you understand how your music comes to the platform and how these things in general help you create your own path. Some tools that I recommend to artists Tonden, The next big word, Chartmetric, And Manager meeting.
Anderson: My advice is just to do it. If you want to play a show, play a show. If you want to post on Instagram, post on Instagram. I think the first one is going to be awkward, or the show may not be so great. But the more drama a band shows, the more times they post, the more they connect with the audience in any way, it’s going to get better from there. Show shows in your local community. Then maybe you start going out of state, then maybe all of a sudden you’re traveling nationally. Just find a way to stay in front of people. If your social is strong and there are fans, start engaging with them, start feeding them content. Make it a place where people want to come. People want to see an behind-the-scenes visual of an artist that they are really interested in. Be creative and have fun with it.
– Stephanie Garr